Genting bids for Loy Yang

Malaysian casino operator and power group Genting Bhd has made a bid for the Loy Yang power station in Australia. The move follows a decision by Australia’s competition watchdog to block a bid for the plant made by the Australian Gas Light Co.

Genting is thought to have made a bid similar to the A$3.5bn ($2.3bn) bid made by Australian Gas Light Co., and has said that it is interested in owning up to 50 per cent of the plant. It previously pulled out of a joint bid for the plant made with Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby Bhd.

Australian Gas Light is Australia’s largest energy retailer. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) blocked its bid for Loy Yang on the grounds that ownership of the plant would enable the company to manipulate the wholesale market.

Loy Yang is the biggest power plant in Victoria state. CMS Energy owns a 50 per cent stake in the plant and Xcel Energy 25 per cent. Both are keen to sell their shares. The remaining 25 per cent is owned by Horizon Energy Investments.

News digest

China: US Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham and the Chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) have affirmed their commitment to non-proliferation of nuclear technology. The understandings establish a process for determining what nuclear technologies require government-to-government non-proliferation assurances, and open the way for greater participation by the US nuclear industry in China’s growing nuclear power program.

Indonesia: Alstom has signed a contract to expand and extend a long term service agreement (LTSA) with Indonesia Power. The new contracts extends the scope of an existing LTSA covering the GT13E1-based Tanjung Priok power plant and now also includes the GT13E2-based Gilimanuk plant in Bali.

Indonesia: Marubeni Corp. has received an order from Indonesia to build two substations and expand one within Jakarta. The company will provide gas insulated switchgear as well as construction services and installation work.

Laos: Companies from Norway and Japan have expressed an interest in taking over Electricite de France’s share in the $1.2bn Nam Theun 2 hydropower plant in Laos. EDF pulled out of the project in August just before the power purchase agreement was due to be signed.

Nepal: VA Tech Hydro has won a contract to supply equipment to the Middle Marsyangdi hydropower plant located in the Marsyangdi river valley, some 170 km west of Kathmandu. The g13m contract was awarded by the Nepal Electricity Authority and Fichtner Joint Venture.

Philippines: The National Transmission Corp. has outlined P8.3bn ($150m) of projects that are to be carried out between 2005 and 2008 and which are crucial to strengthening the power grid in Luzon. The projects include strengthening Luzon’s 500 kV transmission grid and upgrading 230 kV transmission lines

Thailand: The National Economic and Social Advisory Council has opposed a government plan to privatize the national power grid and hydroelectric power plants. It is concerned that consumers would suffer if electricity prices were driven by market forces and has asked the government to set up an independent body to monitor consumer interests.

Vietnam: The Phu My 3 power plant in southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, Vietnam, has started its first gas turbine unit, according to local reports. The $412m plant is being built on a build-operate-transfer basis and is expected to supply power to the national grid this month.

China strikes deal for CCGT plant

Pacific Oil & Gas Ltd. has signed an agreement with the government of Xiamen, in Fujian, China, to build, own and operate a natural gas fired combined cycle gas turbine power plant. The agreement is the first in a series of major power investments that the Hong Kong-based company has planned for China.

The new plant will have a total design capacity of 1400 MW. Phase One of the project will have a capacity of 2 x 350 MW and represents an investment of $350m. Natural gas for the Xiamen plant will come from Indonesia’s Tangguh field.

Pacific Oil & Gas is also developing other power plants in China that will use LNG from its first 5m t/year LNG plant in Indonesia.

Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) has signed its first deal to construct a power plant in China. It will build two 50 MW fluidized bed combustion plants in Henan Province and expects to complete the project by late 2005.

India looks to wind power

Vestas RRB, a joint venture between Denmark’s Vestas Group and RRB of India, is planning to invest up to $12m over the next two years in setting up wind farms and wind turbine manufacturing facilities in India. The company believes that up to 7000 MW of wind power capacity could be added to the Indian electricity grid over the next ten years.

A number of other companies have also recently announced plans to invest in India’s wind energy sector. Suzlon Energy Ltd. is planning to establish a $478m wind park in the western state of Gujarat, while Nordex has entered a joint venture with India’s BHEL to establish a pilot wind project.

Vestas RRB is hoping to install around 60 MW of wind capacity this year, helping it to treble its revenues.

Bangladesh should unbundle, says WB

A new study by the World Bank has recommended that Bangladesh unbundles power transmission from generation and distribution to encourage investment. The government should end its monopoly in the sector and introduce competition, says the report.

The study says that political interference in state-owned Power Development Board and Dhaka Electric Supply Authority is high, and that these entities should be corporatized.

Philippines to sell Napocor assets

Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has given the go-ahead for the immediate sale of National Power Corp.’s (Napocor’s) generating assets to cut the government’s budget deficit and avert looming electricity shortages.

Arroyo is also keen to resolve the sale of the National Transmission Corporation (Transco) after a second attempt to privatize it failed. The government is hoping to raise $900m from the sale of Napocor’s generating and transmission companies, but there does not seem to be much interest in the assets from foreign investors.

The government originally wanted to privatize Transco before going ahead with the sale of generating companies. In July, Singapore Power Corp. was the only company to place a bid for Transco, and two parties must place bids for the sale process to proceed. A second attempt to sell Transco also failed.

Potential investors have been put off by an uncertain regulatory environment and also a delay in passing the Transco bill.

I&C contract

Emerson Process Management has won a $10m contract from Shaanxi HanCheng Second Power Co. Ltd. to install instrumentation and control systems for the first 600 MW power plant in Shaanxi Province. The plant is being built to help meet the rapidly growing demand for power in the region. Emerson will install its PlantWeb digital plant architecture at the plant.